Are you giving away your power? (Part II)
I first wrote about giving away your power in January, 2006. This article is a follow up to that piece.
As sensitive souls, many of us are not comfortable with our own power. We relinquish our personal power and over-empower others around us, often without realizing it. When we do this, we feel betrayed, taken advantage of, or pushed beyond our limits. Another way of looking at this is that we allow ourselves to be victimized.
One of the reasons we give away our power is that many of us believe that power is a negative thing. We focus on power only in its shadow form, thinking of greedy, pushy, aggressive people who are "power-hungry" or "power-mad." They run roughshod over others without thought or care in their rush to be powerful. We see them as rude, inconsiderate, and uncompassionate. We have been trampled by them ourselves, and are unwilling to do the same to other people. This is the view of power many of us take, but we have forgotten that there are other ways to be powerful.
For instance, consider a wise leader, who respects and honors the power she has. She uses it with discernment, discipline, and insight. Such a leader knows that power used wisely and with love can create great good in the world.
Consider also an individual who uses his power in personal relationships wisely. This person is fully present and honoring of others, while also being present to and honoring of himself. He speaks up when something is amiss. He leaves when the time is right for him to go. He is deeply respectful. He lives fully in his body. He doesn't give unsolicited advice, push people around, or allow others to push him around.
We also give away our power when we act from old, outdated ways of thinking or behaving, like trying to be a "good girl" or a "good boy" who doesn't cause trouble or make waves.
As sensitives we also doubt ourselves, our reactions, and our truths. We've learned to distrust ourselves this way because our culture doesn't validate our high sensitivity. This means we are less likely to claim our power in a positive way.
Sometimes we give away our power because we are trying to take care of other people, fix them, or get over-involved with them. Most sensitives don't even realize how disempowering this is for ourselves and others. We also simply don't know how to connect without getting enmeshed.
We can also be afraid of creating or experiencing conflict, which is sometimes a necessary part of being assertive. Many of us, consciously or unconsciously, focus on creating an outward appearance of calm and peace, regardless of how we feel inside. But we rarely consider the high cost to ourselves and our personal integrity.
When you truly integrate and own your power, you will operate in the world from a deep place of strength, trust, and alignment within yourself. Owning your power is about having the courage to show up as your full, true self, without apologies, and without holding back about who you are and what you want. It means speaking your truth, honoring your sensitivity, and believing in yourself.
Your True Power
Each one of us has a natural power, an ability to evoke something unique and special from any situation. One person might naturally evoke beauty and oneness, another person might catalyze others into action and change, while yet another person might inspire healing and insight. When each of us uses our power in service of ourselves, others, and our life purpose, we bring the world more into balance.
When we fail to use our true power, or when we use it from its shadowy energies without truly owning it, an emptiness results, or worse, systemic failure occurs. For instance, if one's true power is to evoke a sense of spiritual oneness, but that person does it from a shadowy place, we might experience a person who manipulates spiritually for material gain and creates dysfunctional, imbalanced relationships. Think of the spiritual guru who uses others to gain fame and fortune, bankrupting people along the way.
Another person with the same true power, acting out of a place of integrity, would instead guide others to find their own sense of spiritual oneness. They may gain materially as well, but will do so as the result of a natural energy exchange.
When I work with my clients, I help them discover their true power. On a personal level, when I embrace my true power, which is to help people see what they aren't seeing about themselves, and use it to further my purpose as a guide and leader, I truly come alive.
You can find your own true power by looking at your life and examining instances in which you have felt powerful and where people have acknowledged you for your contributions. Be sure to look at your entire life as you consider this notion, not just your professional experiences.
Powerful questions to ask:
- When do I or have I naturally felt powerful? What natural strength was I expressing?
- What have other people been astonished by my ability to do, when to me it felt as natural as breathing? What natural strength was I expressing?
- How can I more fully claim my own power and strength?
- Where in my life am I giving away my power? How can I bring my power back to me?
A tool to use
When you find yourself out of power, put your hand over your solar plexus (your personal power chakra) and breathe into it slowly and deeply, saying to yourself (or out loud), "I call all my power back to me." This is a particularly powerful tool when you find yourself in conflict with another person. Sonia Choquette says of this technique, "Whoever breathes the slowest, wins."
Copyright 2007, Jennifer K. Avery
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Jenna Avery, the Life Coach for Sensitive Souls, offers an original coaching program designed to guide highly sensitive souls to a deep sense of inner rightness, so they are inspired to step forward and shine. You're invited to visit her website at www.highlysensitivesouls.com to take her free online assessment, "Is Your Sensitivity Working For You?"